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A Week In the Life of a Farm Family

This is a personal diary written by a farm wife for a 4th grade Joe Henderson Elementary School project in Benicia, California.             

What a GREAT project for kids to learn about farming!  We think you will enjoy!

Introduction   Day#1   Day #2   Day #3

Welcome to the Our Farm!

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Welcome to the Wise Farm! I am Carol, mother of 2 wonderful girls, and married to a handsome and wonderful farmer, Tom. Our girls are Karen, who is going to be 5 years old this week (January 20, 1999). She is an active, independent, girl with lots of energy, a hard worker, loves animals and enjoys being outside and helping Mom and Dad. Kaye Lynn will be 2 years old this May 2nd. It seems like only yesterday she was born, but she is growing fast, loves to sleep, eat, talk and follow her "big sister." She also loves to go outside and ride with her Dad in the tractors, trucks, or combine. Her first words were "Daddy," and "Baa!"

Tom is a 34 years old, hard working, stubborn, independent farmer. This is the only job he has ever had, or ever wanted to have since he was a little boy. We farm with his parents, who live just across the highway. So any other job just does not fit his personality. Tom has lived all of his life in this flat fertile farm ground of Findlay, Ohio. If the Good Lord is willing we will farm here the rest of our lives!

I am a 38 year old "country girl" at heart, and waited patiently until I was 32 years old to marry the man of my dreams...a farmer! I was raised on a small farm near Marion, Ohio, and was the 3rd of 6 children. My parents both had farm backgrounds, as did Tom's parents. We had livestock in the barn as far back as I can remember, and took what we raised as 4-H projects. Doing chores everyday, rain or shine was part of our daily routine. Hard work was part of our daily lives. Feeding animals and doing the jobs that came along with them (fun or not so fun) was top priority. I remember as a kid, having being called out of my warm bed, by my parents, to go water the sheep or hogs, or cows, and then being ask, "how would you like to go without water for a day?" That was my job, and I had failed to do it correctly. To my parents, it was never done completely until it was done correct! What a great lesson, and what a great way to learn how to work! What a great place to raise a family and teach them the valuable lessons of life! It was natural for me to want to raise my family on a farm, and that is just what I am doing today, while loving every minute of it! I hope you enjoy your 2 weeks visit on our farm. The lessons a person learns on a farm stay with you a life time!

We farm around 1500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and a few acres of hay for our flock of purebred Hampshire show sheep. We have around 40 head of breeding ewes. They will have lots of singles, twins, and sometimes triplets. Our main income comes from the crops, while the sheep are a supplemental income. But it is growing and we have worked hard to bring up the quality of sheep in the past years. We have just started to sell sheep around the country, and it is mainly due to the web page that I started a year ago. Today I am designing web sites for other people, and hope to continue.

This diary will include one week while we harvest the corn, and beans in October of 1998, and another week of lambing in January 1999.

Here are the some of the qualities that a person must have in order to be successful at farming. If any of them are missing or lacking in a farmer, it will put him/her under and unemployed. (sink or swim)

The personality traits of a successful farmer would be: Hard working, stubborn, patient, independent, loyal, dedicated, strong family man, faithful, optimistic, confident, strong, relentless, persistent, a religious loving person.

Some of the job qualifications a successful farmer must be: a self taught financial manager, crop specialist, machinery consultant, fertilizer & chemical consultant, soil & environmental engineer, mechanic, machinery operator, nutritionist, computer specialist, teacher, veterinary, stock broker, preacher, husband/wife, and a mother/father!

There are many challenges in today's modern agriculture industry. The top concerns facing us today are the low prices (below depression prices) and sky rocketing high cost of our expenses. The lack of misunderstanding or education about the farm, the environment, and the basic understanding of where our world's food supply comes from. The ever growing urban sprawl that is eating away our precious farm ground. I think it is great that you have a teacher that is doing a project like this! What a great lesson it will be!

The following is taken from the PROGRESSIVE FARMER Magazine a column written by Editor Jack Odle.  After reading it, I was convinced more than ever, that farm life is "quite simply-the best."  I think you will agree.

EVERYTHING I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW, I LEARNED GROWING UP ON A FARM

Honesty. I learned it is better to point out that lame heifer to a buyer rather than wait for the buyer to find her in the herd-or worse, not find her.

Charity. I learned the importance of giving to those in their hour of need.  It could be taking a casserole to someone's home after a funeral or combing the wheat field of a farmer who has been injured.

Life and Death. I've seen calves, lambs, pigs, puppies, and kittens born, often right before my eyes.  But I also witnessed death and the harshness of nature before I was three years old.

Compassion. I've seen my Dad get off his tractor to move a bird's nest out of the way so he could cultivate the field.

Faith. I've watched the planting of tiny seed and had the assurance that they would sprout and make a good crop.   I've watched a newborn calf struggle to its feet and understood this fragile animal would grow into a productive cow.

Work Ethic. I remember looking out at a field full of hay bales and wondering if we would ever get them unloaded and hauled into the barn.  I came to realize that if you work steadily and stick to it those bales will slowly disappear from the field.

Patience. I know everything happens according to nature's schedule.  We can't speed it up or slow it down; we can only work within its constraints.

Yes, just about everything worth knowing I learned and continue to learn from farm families and farm life.  I bet a lot of you feel that way too.

 
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